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Jaguars' next big decision: Picking up four-year option on LT Kelvin Beachum

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Now that the deadline for guaranteeing tight end Julius Thomas $3 million has passed, the next decision facing the Jacksonville Jaguars is whether to pick up the four-year option on left tackle Kelvin Beachum.

That must be done by Wednesday, according to the one-year contract Beachum signed with the Jaguars last March. The four-year option includes an additional $13 million of guaranteed salary and up to $11.6 million in escalators based on playing time, playoffs and Pro Bowl.

Beachum returned from a torn ACL the previous October and played in and started 15 games last season, missing one game because of a concussion. He was a key part of an offensive line that gave up only 34 sacks, which was the fewest since 2007 (31).

Beachum dealt with soreness and slight swelling in his knee throughout the season, but that was expected since he got back on the field less than a year removed from the surgery and a lineman puts considerable strain on the joint.

The Jaguars were pleased with the way Beachum played in pass protection but would like to see him improve in the run game. It seemed before the coaching change that the Jaguars were leaning toward bringing Beachum back, but things may have changed after the hire of Tom Coughlin as executive vice president of football operations. Owner Shad Khan gave Coughlin final say on all football decisions, which obviously includes the roster.

If the Jaguars exercise the option, Beachum’s $7.5 million base salary in 2017 and $5.5 million of his $8.5 million base salary in 2018 are guaranteed. The contract works out to an average salary of about $9 million over five years, which is reasonable since the average salary for upper-level left tackles in the NFL is in the $11 million to $13 million range.